Inovateus Solar: Kokomo Solar 1

The site of the Kokomo Solar 1 power plant was once the home of a massive Continental Steel plant in Kokomo, Indiana, that closed down in the 1980s. After demolition of the abandoned structures in the 1990s, the heavily contaminated Superfund site lay barren until the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management led a $40 million remediation effort.

The city took legal ownership of the 68-acre brownfield site in 2013 and was looking for a way that it could utilize the parcel, since the residual contamination made most commercial redevelopment or park projects unfeasible. After Duke Energy issued a request for proposal in 2014, local installer Green Alternatives introduced Inovateus Solar to the city of Kokomo, and discussions began about developing the land for a solar farm. Inovateus answered the Duke RFP and ended up winning the contract. It then brought co-owner and partner Alterra Energy into the project, with 1st Source Bank underwriting the financing.

From a revenue standpoint, the city will garner income from the 20-year lease agreement and see savings from reduced maintenance costs. Since the property once was home to a large, energy-consuming factory complex, the utility infrastructure is already in place, with a big substation located just south of the site. As this was not a permit-heavy project, the land did not require rezoning or special exceptions. Approval for the soil management plan came prior to the driving of the first racking post.

Inovateus developed, designed and engineered the 7.15 MWdc (5.4 MWac) project, and Heartland Solutions installed it as a fixed ground-mount array occupying 27 acres of the site. The system is equipped with more than 21,000 Suniva monocrystalline-silicon modules mounted on Schletter racking and wired to five Ingeteam inverters that feed into two step-up transformers connected in series. The power plant taps a nearby 13.5 kV distribution line that feeds into the Duke Energy grid.

Since the site is classified as a brownfield, it must conform to a number of environmental regulations, including maintaining the integrity of the two-foot-deep clean soil cap in certain areas. Inovateus hired TRC to create a storm water prevention plan and brownfield study to ensure compliance.

Given the mixed soil conditions, the racking installation process presented certain challenges. Because of buried debris, the installers could not drive a number of the piles into the earth. Wherever this occurred, they cut the pile to height and then poured a concrete ballast at the base. The designers selected Schletter racking because the product allows installation on either a ballast or a driven pile.

The team completed the project without reporting any recordable safety incidents.

“As one of the largest solar arrays in the state, Kokomo Solar 1 marks another step toward bringing more renewable energy to Indiana and the greater Midwest region. The power plant makes use of an underutilized brownfield site, turning formerly blighted land into a clean energy–producing resource for thousands of Hoosiers. Kokomo also marks Inovateus’ first foray into asset ownership, and we look forward to doing more projects and creating more local solar jobs all over the Midwest.”

— TJ Kanczuzewski, president and CEO, Inovateus Solar

Overview

DESIGNER: Jonny Rienks, design engineer, Inovateus Solar, inovateus.com

LEAD INSTALLER: Mike Robinson, master electrician and solar project manager, Heartland Solutions, heartlandsolutions.us

DATE COMMISSIONED: December 29, 2016 

INSTALLATION TIME FRAME: 163 days

LOCATION: Kokomo, IN, 40.48°N

SOLAR RESOURCE: 4.1 kWh/m2/day

ASHRAE DESIGN TEMPS: 91.4°F 2% average high, -9.4°F extreme minimum

ARRAY CAPACITY: 7.15 MWdc

ANNUAL AC PRODUCTION: 9.1 million kWh 

Equipment Specifications

MODULES: 21,348, Suniva OPT335-72-4-100, 335 W STC, +5/-0 W, 8.89 Imp, 37.7 Vmp, 9.66 Isc, 45.9 Voc

INVERTERS: 3-phase 277/480 Vac service, five Ingeteam PowerMax 1110TL U B400, 1,110 kW rated output, 1,050 Vdc maximum input, 580 Vdc–820 Vdc MPPT range; inverters, step-up transformers and monitoring equipment installed on two equipment skids

ARRAY: 18 modules per string (6,030 W, 8.89 Imp, 679 Vmp, 9.66 Isc, 826 Voc), 18–24 strings per combiner (24-string combiner 144.7 kW STC, 213 Imp, 679 Vmp, 232 Isc, 826 Voc), 10–12 combiners per inverter, array total: 7,151,580 W STC

ARRAY INSTALLATION: Driven pile and ballasted ground mounts installed on brownfield capped site, Schletter FS Uno racking, 180° azimuth, 30° tilt

ARRAY SOURCE CIRCUIT COMBINERS: 18–24 strings per combiner, 52 Shoals STG.CBC.24.BJAJNC01E0

SYSTEM MONITORING: Draker PV 2000-65

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